dinsdag 21 februari 2006


I run into Filles Sourires on places (records, actually) where I expect them the least. Take the upcoming double compilation by dubtecho-heroes Swayzak. The first song on Route de la Slack is their gentle remix of Acoustiques Paralleles by French triphop-duo Quark. Great song. Not only that, singer Valerie Tong Cuong is a well-known writer in France (and her books are translated to Swedish and Norwegian as well). She writes modern novels on 'the struggle of life', her last novel is set in the financial world. This first encouter with Valerie TC is promising, I will investigate further.

Quark - Acoustiques Paralleles (Swayzak remix)

maandag 20 februari 2006


Victoria Abril is best known for her roles in films by Spanish maverick Pedro Almodóvar. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down is the best one, I reckon. Also the movie in which Abril's body is, shall we say, appreciated to the fullest. Last summer I bought her first album Putcheros, a tribute to bossa nova, with songs written by Jobim, Jorge Ben, Marcos Valle and Roberto Menescal. All where sung in Portuguese, 'cept one: Tu Verras. Originally written by the great Chico Buarque (O Que Sera) and translated by Claude Nougaro, who made a hit out of Tu Verras in 1964. His version is still very suave.
Victoria's album is so-so, but Tu Verras stands out.

Victoria Abril - Tu Verras

Claude Nougaro - Tu Verras

Simone - O Que Sera


YeYe-Girls say: "In 1959, Tiny Young (real name: Thien Juong Ton Hu Thi) was discovered whilst singing in a restaurant (La Table du Mandarin), then she goy small roles in several movies : Le Jeu De La Verite, Les Parias De La Gloire. In 1963, she had a hit with Tais-toi Petite Folle." Well, according to the list on YYG she had a lot more singles released - I'm very curious about her coverversions of In Dreams by Roy Orbison and The Beatles' Eight Days a Week. Anybody has them available? Posted here is Tu es le roi des menteurs, (co-)written by Henri Salvador. That is probably him singing as well.
(Really charming sites you get when googling on 'tiny yong', by the way)

Tiny Young - Le roi des menteurs

here two more songs by Tiny (merci à Frans!)

Tiny Yong - Tais toi petite folle

Tiny Yong - Le Sauvage

zondag 19 februari 2006


Setting poetry to music, as Sophie Auster did, has been done before in French Music. Take Madame Deshoulières (2001) by Jean-Louis Murat was based on a series of poems written by Antoinette Deshoulières (a young noblewoman born in 1638), and marked a clean break from the rest of Murat's work. Fusing Murat's modern musical approach with baroque compositions written by Daniel Meier, the album featured the voice of French actress Isabelle Huppert reciting (with a voice like Marianne Faithfull's) Antoinette's poetry over Murat and Meier's arrangements.
(If you want to hear another French actress sing, click here).

Isabelle Huppert & Jean-Louis Murat - De rose ne reste que l'epine

Kazumi & Maia

Whilst clicking away on eMusic, I ran into Kazumi & Maia, two Japanese filles who made one album last year. Maia is the daughter of Pierre Barouh, affiliated to the Saravah-label (also home to Filles Sourires-faves Elisa Point and Bia) and, as I understand from this profile, quite a character. I'd never heard of the guy - something tells me my good online-fried Roar has - or his music, but L'Amitié is quite interesting. It has great variety in styles, from gypsyjazz to odd exotica to straight chansons - with an experimental streak. Can't say everything is my cup of (jasmin) tea, but I'm glad I've stumbled on at least this cray Caravan-cover.

Kazumi & Maia - L'Amitie

Kazumi & Maia - Caravan

vrijdag 17 februari 2006


Yep, that's her: Sophie Auster, the very good looking daughter of writer Paul Auster. He got his fame from novels like Oracle Night, and screenplays for the Brooklyn-hailing movies Blue in the Face and Smoke (William Hurt plays Auster). Her dad is convinced she's hugely talented (she followed acting and singing lessons at Lee Strasberg Institute, and played in movies like She's Loves Me) so her got her in contact with musicians of the band One Ring Zero, who set music to lyrics by Sophie, and poems by French poets - translated by Paul. Ambitious yes, but executed stylish. Fall 2005, the debut album by Sophie (titelless) was released. One poem was kept French, Le Pont Mirabeau by G. Appolinaire. French paper Libération wrote that Sophie's adaptation was better than Leo Ferré's. Check for yourself:

Sophie Auster - Le Pont Mirabeau

Cat Power/Karen Elson

End of this month it will be released; Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, a mostly English-language tribute to Serge, with contributions by Franz Ferdinand (en duo with Jane Birkin!), Michael Stipe, the unlikely team-up of Marianne Faithfull and riddem-tandem Sly & Robbie, and The Kills. Ofcourse, I've ordered it already. Thanks to Florian, here's a preview, Cat Power and Karen Elson (pictured) en duo.

(due to popularity of this post, I've changed the publ.date so it moved back up on the front page)

Cat Power & Karen Elson - I Love You (Je t'aime...moi non plus)

Je t'aime - Valentine's edition

Okay, so Valentine's Day is already behind us, but this special version by The Kissing Time of Je t'aime...moi non plus is way too funny to keep from y'all. If you're wondering why there's a pic of Whitney Houston accompanying this post - listen to the mp3 first. Then go here.

Kissing Time - Je t'aime...moi non plus

Merci à Catty

donderdag 16 februari 2006


Regular guest-selector Edmond Viperenoire has another great song to share, this time by 'Queen of the Night' Régine:

One year after the release of Les Sucettes by France Gall, Serge Gainsbourg, still roguish, wrote a new composition for Régine, Ouvre la bouche, ferme les yeux with lyrics that were as ambiguous as those to Les Sucettes.
Régine'd had some succes with Les p'tits papiers (also penned by Serge), and she had high hopes for a similar success. Were the salacious allusions too visible this time? In 1967, French radios distrusted this song which made the men smile at first listening. Guess what 'la purée' is. No, probably not mashed potatoes. This kind of innuendo would not shock any more today.

Pour avaler les mouches bleu marine,
Ou la quinine, ou la purée
Il n'y a qu'un seul moyen efficace
Pour que ça passe, et en douceur
Ouvre la bouche, ferme les yeux
Tu verras, ça glissera mieux...

Régine - Ouvre la bouche, ferme les yeux

woensdag 15 februari 2006

Camille (2)

Don't you just hate it: you bought a great album when it was released, say in the first half of the year, and when christmas is nigh they're re-releasing it with added bonus tracks (or inédits, in French). That's what happened with Le Fil, Camille's brilliant second album with music made out of the human voice, and an upright bass. Three songs were added on a cd called Bout du Fil, and especially Lumière is treat - a gentle, jazzy summersault of a song. It sounds like a duet, but I have no idea who the speaking voice is - might be Camille herself, though.
And yes, le fil (or filament) is again woven throughout all three songs.

Camille - J'ai Tort
Camille - Jolie Bruine
Camille - Lumière

French Fests!

This Sunday, Natach(k)a of Radio Oh-La-La will be spinning at the Amsterdam Beat Club. Next Sunday (26th of February), she'll be joining me @ Amsterdam café Festina Lente for the first edition of French Connections. If you're in the neighbourhood, stop by!

dinsdag 14 februari 2006


Also coming up (in spring): a new album by Nouvelle Vague. The tracklisting looks mouthwatering: Camille doing TC Matic's Putain Putain! Camille and Melanie doing Ever Fallen in Love by The Buzzcocks!
Melanie is also part of Villeneuve, a gorgeous band with various influences, ranging from The Beach Boys to Björk. Little symphonies with glitches, strings and beats. To quote the biography: "The whole album sounds like your iTunes gone crazy and trying to play simultaneously its whole repertory and creating alliances that seem against nature but the result is as gorgeous as genetically modified combinations. First Date is a subtle album where all is close to perfection of nuances."
Here's two beautiful Villeneuve-songs:

Villeneuve - Plus vite que le temps

Villeneuve - Carroussel

(merci à Hanka for the tip)

maandag 13 februari 2006


In 1998, Epsom-born Petula Clark was honoured as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth, "for bringing so much joy over the years." The bringing of joy started very early, in her teens little Petula entertained the British WWII-soldiers both in concert and on the radio. She recorded childish songs like Where Did My Snowman Go, plus more grown-up songs like Romeo. In 1957 she did a concert for a very enthusiastic crowd in the Paris Olympia, which founded a love for France and French. She was persuaded by later husband Claude Wolff to record in France where, unhappy with her British teen-star status, she reinvented herself as a chanteuse. She had many Fench hits - the French obviously forgave her the occassional English -r and -ay (instead of -é) when she sang. She covered song by The Kinks (Well Respected Man) and sang songs written by Serge Gainsbourg. She did not give up singing in English, as her hit Downtown proves. She was a superstar in Vegas for a while, and nowadays still tours around the world.
Presented here are the French version of Cilla Black's megahit Anyone Who Had a Heart (listen to that organ grind!), and the Serge-song La Gadoue.

Petula Clark - Ceux qui ont un coeur

Petula Clark - La gadoue

zondag 12 februari 2006


La Laque is a six-piece rockband (Devery is the shy sounding singer) from NYC, who play Filles Sourires-appreciated music but with a rougher edge. To quote a pressreview: "Fronted by a sexy siren teleported straight from a Godard casting call, La Laque explodes in a beautiful riot of beats and shrieks, leaving only a cloud of thick Gauloises smoke in its wake. It sounds like it wouldn't work. But, like so many things French, somehow it inexplicably does. Call it that certain je ne sais quoi." Sounds interesting, eh? Don't worry about the shrieking - that's not done by Devery, but by the guitars, and it's more psychedelic (think the loud guitars on Serge's Melody Nelson-album) then metal. La Laque happens to do a Gainsbourg-tribute, courtesy of the blogs Le One Night Stand and Melody Nelson, in the Big Apple when I'm over there too! I'm definitely trying to go. Odd: Le One Night Stand's myspace-site doesn't seem to work.
More music by La Laque on their myspace-site. Buy vinyl here.

This week I'm going to post more Filles Sourires from non-French speaking countries like America, f.i. Holland, Brazil and Spain. Tips are welcome!

La Laque - La Sirene Dort

La Laque - Secret

(merci à Hello Gina for introducing me to La Laque)

woensdag 8 februari 2006

Keren Ann

If you go here you can download a really good live-set by Keren Ann (from 2003), with a Joni Mitchell-cover.
And from her session at radiostation KCRW, here a fine rendition (with feedback) of Are You Lonesome Tonight.

Keren Ann - Are You Lonesome Tonight

dinsdag 7 februari 2006

Marie Cherrier

Frankie suggested I should listen to Marie Cherrier, and I did. She's from Blois, born in 1984 and this fansite states she has a voix cristalline d'une grande justesse et pleine de chaleur. Which is true. She had pianolessons as a young girl, but found it too 'mathematique', and did not touch the 88 keys until highschool. A crush on a guitarplayer from Tahiti made her want to play the guitar, which her dad (amateur musician) gladly encouraged. She says she's very inspired by Renaud, Brassens and Gainsbourg, and, unlike a lot of other filles sourires, writes music and lyrics herself. Album Ni Vue Ni Connue (2005) is a short, but very pretty affair, with gentle songs that are firmly rooted in the chanson-tradition. It's stories she tells, about a girl, her amourettes and childhood memories. Thanks Frankie!

Marie Cherrier - Ni Vue Ni Connue
Hear Here

Marie Cherrier - Joyeux Noël
Hear Here

maandag 6 februari 2006

Even More Je t'aimes

I just can't help myself! So here's twelve more (which makes a grand total of 53). NOTE: ALL JE T'AIME-FILES ARE DOWN!

If you don't know what happy hardcore is, think of The Smurfs, doing a lalala-version of Je t'aime. Exactly that was put to wax by Mig 29. Now, imagine a very hot 'n bothered girl in a recording studio, milking a goat. 'Cause that is what Psychic TV's version sound to me. Les Femmes Erotiques' version (Italo-house style) is here because it did not fit in the other categories.

Okay, so there's some singing, but most of the time is just muzak by Nini Rosso, Christopher John and Raymond Lefevre. Los Bichos grunt, cough, bark, and rock on!

I'm not sure if the band is called Pânico, but they are from Brazil, and their comic version namechecks François Mitterand, in a Frazilian (or Brench?) style.

Malcolm McLaren covered Je t'aime for his 1995 Paris-album, and added some Arabic instruments. Vertigo added a lot of encouragements ('Come on, come on!'). Nayanka Bell & Koffi Olomide made it reggae, while Donna Summer and superproducer Giorgio Moroder stretched in 1977 it to a full 15 minutes. But if you want to hear Donna really pant, sigh and grind a lot, you better check Love To Love You Baby, the 17-minute version, ofcourse.

Thanks again Maks, Bruno and Omar M-C.

vrijdag 3 februari 2006

Mary L.

A visitor of this blog emailed me that he refers to les filles sourires as 'Cooing Frenchies', which is a very apt description as well. And very much in place when it comes to Mary L. I have no clue what the L. stands for, the biography doesn't tell - it does state that her dad was in a mythical seventies rockband called Zoo (couldn't find anything on them), and that young pianoplaying Mary was sort of a child prodigy: at eight, she performed at the Bataclan, at ten, she wrote her first compositions. She worked with Veronique Sanson, Cheb Mami and was part of Celtic group Stone Age. With a band called Stereodrome she made her first solo album, Interview, a jazzy, pianodriven and laidback affair. Second album Bossanova (2005), as the title already promises, is a take on breezy bossanova. Working with musicians who also worked with Chico Buarque, Tania Maria and Bebel Gilberto, she recorded 12 sunny songs. One of them is a duet with Helena Noguerra - very much in place, because Bossanova reminds me a lot of Helena's Azul-cd. If you go to Mary L.'s website, you can watch a video of them singing together in the studio.

Mary L. and Helena Noguerra - L'Amour C'est Gratuit
Hear Here.

Mary L. - Les Amants
Hear Here.

donderdag 2 februari 2006


It took five years, encouragements from sister Helena, threats of kidnapping, a short disappearance and a small studio somewhere in a Swedish forest, but finally, it's here: Dites Au Prince Charmant, the marvellous comeback of Wanda Ribeiro de Vasconcelos, better known as Lio. 43 years old right now, but she still looks ravishing. No more electropop, but clever, beautifully arranged acoustic songs with lyrics about loneliness, disillusionment and dreams that did not came true. In this interview, Lio tells about some Iranian former acquintance, who threatened to take her kids to Iran. "I did not want to re-enact the movie Not Without My Daughter", she says about the time she hid in the city of Montpellier.
The album was produced, and almost completely written by Doriand and Bertrand Burgalat-collaborator Peter von Poehl. She passed around some ideas before with Doriand, but when he wrote the song L'Âge des Saisons for here, the puzzlepieces fell into place. There's one cover, Attend ou va-t'en, written by Serge and made famous by France Gall in 1964. The new, grown-up Lio has been compared to Françoise Hardy and Keren Ann, and Dites Au Prince Charmant album certainly can match the best work of these singers. But still, she has to work in a pub do yoghurt-commercials to make ends meet: "J'avais besoin d'argent, donc j'ai accepté l'autre pub."

Lio - Vieil Ami
Hear Here

Lio - L'Âge des Saisons
Hear Here

Lio - Attend ou va-t'en
Hear Here

France Gall - Attend ou va-t'en
Hear Here